Global Collaboration Day was celebrated on September 17th. Tech Talk Tuesdays weekly webinar series took place on a Thursday to be part of this great day. The topic for conversation was “Best Approaches to Global Collaboration” and the direction of the conversations were chosen by the participants.
The participants came from five countries – Australia, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and USA but they came from a broad section of educational tiers and layers – community members, universities, schools, special interest groups including “Gifted Students”, “Toastmasters” etc. This variety of experiences and interests led to rich discussions. We shared what we could see outside our windows while we were waiting and then shared pictures of what it was like where we live.
Some of the topics raised for potential discussion included:
- how much collaboration is enough!
- why it is so important to collaborate globally!
- Is there a taxonomy for collaboration reqirements, that help us map tools to requirements and simplify the choices?
- breaking down the fear barriers for real time collaboration across the globe
- best strategies of social media
- learn more of Yoshiro’s World Museum and Mystery Skype
- managing of discussions in a global workplace
Why collaborate globally was the first topic for discussion. Some of the responses included:
- to understand the many common experiences, issues and concerns we all have no matter where we live.
- Breakout of the ethnocentric perspective to work together for collaboratively
- Our lives are supported by the whole earth – need to develop gratitude and contributing minds.
- Learn beyond the textbook
- To build understanding and empathy between cultures
- Broaden the experiences
- we collaborate to broaden our world, if we avoid global collaboration, then our world shrinks.
- fun, time coverage, interesting people, access specialist knowledge, understand cultural implications, save travel costs, create holiday opportunities
Ideas for “Breaking down the fear factors for collaborating across the world”. (Some of the mentioned fears included: loss of control, accents, languages – not being able to speak eg English well enough, cultural challenges, technology confidence, bandwidth/infrastructure etc)
- in the World Museum Projects kids love to create interesting fun projects, without using too much language. They can share their projects with people around the world . They get to know each other Scratch. They get interested in each other and feel easier about communicating.
- turn the camera off – helps them to be less shy
- practise a videoconference call with just one person
- watch video recordings, read blogs of people who have already done it.
- have images and signage ready to share to ensure understanding
- attend Professional Development sessions with encouraging mentor figures
- use text chat where possible to support video and/or audio connections
- sharing idioms and common sayings to compare languages
- Always have a support check list along with the training
- Share quick ‘how tos’
- Provide easy to follow tutorials
- side by side assistance in the one place
- provide alternative times for both hemispheres
- ask about the different cultural protocols
- participate in twitter chats
- show best way to converse in a face book group
- introduce speech craft lessons before conversing online – breaks down fear of talking in virtual rooms or videoconferencing
- practise talking to each other – learn from the different languages, accents, cultures. Use any chat feature or signage to ensure understanding
- Just try it!
How do we get started?
- find out what others want
- first step is just wanting to engage
- where there is a gap in the educational services, explore how to use it collaboratively.
- In the World Museum site, Yoshiro starts with a World Friends Project in which the students draw themselves doing their favourite activities as a way of introduction.
- MOOCs can be a popular way of learning. Seeking out one of these helps to understand collaborative learning.
- find out what equipment/tools you will need
- make sure it is within your school’s acceptable user policy to have students on camera
- Cybraryman has a page for most educational uses/issues.
- there are many great global projects to be involved in. See these crowd sourced documents for some of them Global Projects for Beginners and Global Projects: Where to Begin?
- Think about the purpose of connecting with another classroom and plan your conversations and activities around this.
- Need to explore what kind of collaborations you need.
Best Practise of Social Media
- Social media is seen as those online tools that enable connections among many at any time.
- Using the right tool for the purpose in mind, eg linkedin for professional connections, facebook for community sharing in groups
- as educators we need to understand the limitations such as cultural equipment, access etc Once we have an appreciation of this,
- World Museum uses Scratch website with forums, voicethread, wikis, edmodo, voicethread
- Cross generational collaboration is useful because older students can support and facilitate the younger students eg students in Ann Marie Park’s university often help primary students work on their projects as well as communicating with overseas partners.
- understand that you are managing a community
- be aware that many social media tools may be blocked in some countries
What would your answers be to some of these questions? Which responses do you support, which would you challenge?